Last Updated on February 10, 2016 by

A recent article on Forbes  highlighted a new “problem” — the use of e-cigarettes by celebrities in the public eye.

The event in question raised the ire of several politicians, namely Edward J. Markey (D, MA), Richard Blumenthal (D, CT), Sherrod Brown (D, OH), and Dick Durbin (D, IL), who complained that, “many young viewers saw notable displays of e-cigarette use throughout the awards show, including the opening monologue and repeated shots of celebrities smoking e-cigarettes.”

My thought, on reading that quote is, “Smoking them how? Baracoa style like in Jamaica? What kind of spices are they rubbing into the e-cigarettes before they smoke them? Does it make them taste better?”

Of course, they mean smoking in the sense of smoking a cigarette. Now, we know — and even Dr. Satel, the author of the Forbes article — knows that e-cigarettes don’t produce smoke. That people who use them are not smoking

That the Senators in question give the appearance of not knowing this speaks to one of two conditions:

First, that they are wholly uninformed regarding the issue. Or:

Second, that they are aware of the difference and are utterly unconcerned with it.

Neither is an appropriate condition under which they find themselves issuing passive-aggressive edicts like the one from Representatives Frank Pallone (D, NJ) and Henry Waxman (D, CA) urging the four major television networks to keep their airways free of vaping.

To quote from their letter:

 “The popularity of e-cigarettes has increased rapidly among adolescents.  This trend is particularly alarming since youth e-cigarette use serves as a gateway to a lifetime of nicotine addiction, and the full extent of e-cigarette harms is not yet fully understood.  One reason for the rise in youth e-cigarette use is growing evidence that e-cigarette manufacturers are taking advantage of the absence of regulation to target youth with their advertising and marketing efforts.”

So what we have, in just one paragraph, is first an unsubstantiated claim — presumably based on the same flawed CDC study that has led to so many people vomiting up that particular hairball of disingenuousness. In the very second sentence, we get a combo platter of idiocy in the form of something which can’t be substantiated even based on the aforementioned dishonest claim; for the second half of the sentence, we have a classic application of the puritanical prohibitionist’s very best friend, the Precautionary Principle.

The final sentence, of course, is substantiated by… absolutely nothing.

At the time of this writing, I have seen dozens of eLiquid vendors’ marketing, from the most popular to the least, and none of it is geared toward minors.

As for the ‘gateway’ argument, Dr. Patel rather neatly states the counterargument we in the vaping community have made since the ‘gateway’ argument first emerged from the sludge: That what ‘gateway effect’ there is at all has been shown to work the other way: That is, that adolescents are far more likely to use e-cigarettes the way adults do — to stop smoking.

The simple fact of the matter is this: For millions of people, our so-called representatives’ desire to treat personal vaporizers identically to the way they treat cigarettes is patently absurd when presented as a public health issue.

Personal vaporizers are not cigarettes — they are, if anything, the best, most mature, most sensible answer to cigarettes.

In similar fashion, our politicians are quickly demonstrating that they are anything but our representatives with every attempt, like this one, to dictate to us and censor what we are “allowed” to see. It’s past time that stopped.

John Castle